“I’m a politician’s son, so I can spoof all day long!” he said. “Also, I’m a punter myself, so I know people’s frustrations.
“People use the word genius loosely, but Pat Kelly is an absolute genius when it comes to training horses.
“I’ve had horses with many different trainers and what he does is very different to what they do.
“Whether that’s part of the reason why he’s as shy as he is – maybe he feels he’s best keep that to himself – but I understand people’s frustrations.”
He met Kelly, below, through his sister’s boyfriend, the Grand National-winning jockey Jason Titley, successful with Royal Athlete in 1995.
Salvation arrived when he met Reynolds at Mallow races. Reynolds explained: “I said to Pat, we should buy a horse for old time’s sake, and he said yeah, I’ll ring you – it took two years before he did!”
But despite these achievements, former trainer Henrietta Knight, successful three times in the Gold Cup with Best Mate, said: “I can’t see how a horse can win a Gold Cup without having run in a chase that season – especially one stepping out of novice company.”
Only Easter Hero, winner of the 1929 Gold Cup, succeeded when not having had an outing over fences in that season.
Regarding Presenting Percy’s solitary outing this season, Reynolds counters that it has not been from choice. “We’ve waited all year to run him,” he said. “But as everyone knows, we’ve not had the rain and consequently the ground has not been suitable.
“I don’t know how many more opportunities Pat is going to have with a horse going to the Gold Cup – I certainly doubt I’ll have many more – and we just decided to be ultra-careful as you only get one shot at these races.”
“He has a barn with lots of holes in the roof and about 20 loose boxes and that’s it.” As for further Festival celebrations Reynolds adds: “We go there with a favourite’s chance of winning, you’re carrying more than your own expectations.
“This horse gives everything, he’s got everything and puts it on the line, people admire him for that.”
“He will have to be special enough to win a Gold Cup, I don’t know if he is, but we’ll be there to find out.”
1:30 Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f
● French-br have filled 9 of the last 12 places
● Nicky Henderson has won the race 6 times
● The Irish have won 8 of the last 12 runnings
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m
● 16 of the last 18 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
● No winner older than 10 years-old since 1969
● Willie Mullins is yet to win the race, 0 from 26 (finished second four years running)
4.10 St.James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup 3m 21/2f
● 26 of the last 30 started out in point-to-point races